BUFFALO, NY- After a rough winter that left roads across Erie County riddled with potholes, the county legislature met Thursday to discuss and approve $27 million in projects for road improvement across the county.
Among the roads in Erie County that would see extensive improvements under the plan are Goodrich Road in Clarence and Brighton Road in Amherst. Extensive work will also be done on portions of Sowles Road in Hamburg, Hopkins Road in Amherst, and another stretch of Eden - Evans Center Road in Evans where some work has been done in past years.
In addition, some roads were specifically added because of the damage from the harsh winter. They include Bayview Road, Pleasant Avenue, and Lake Avenue in Hamburg, Rowley Road and Cayuga Creek Road in Cheektowaga, Waverly Road in Concord, and Eckhardt Road in Eden.
County residents have very vocal about the current state of roads because of the winter. More than a hundred Channel 2 viewers have submitted where to worst potholes in WNY are on our pothole map.
County Legislature Chairman John Mills tells 2 on Your Side he realizes that this approved package does not cover all the damaged roads. He in particular notes that Abbott Road south of Big Tree Road is a major north - south access road which is riddled with potholes and ruts. Mills says this is why his Republican-lead majority caucus will push for an additional $5 Million dollars for road work which could be pulled from the county's $90 Million dollar reserve fund. Mills says "Quite frankly we need safe roads in our county. And if we have a fund balance of $90 Million, our caucus is gonna push for an additional $5 Million be taken out of that fund balance to maybe get another 12 projects done."
Mills also says there may be a need for the county to develop a preventive maintenance program to fix up damaged roads before they deteriorate even further. He suggests that "We can shift money around in the budget. Maybe we have to take money away from some areas of the budget where it's not a public safety issue and move those funds into road construction." When pressed for a suggestion of such an area he says "We can look at certain areas of funding to the culturals."
County Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Thomas Loughran who are both Democrats say they understand the need to repair crumbling roads around the county but would not support the idea of transferring funding from any cultural organizations. Loughran says the culturals "would be the last place you would go" to find another way to fund any road work.
A spokesman for County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he feels there is no need at this point for an additional road repair program because construction crews will be busy already and any new funding may not be applied this year. He is also opposed to using funding for any other budget items for road repair.